Apple Pay

Apple Pay’s China Competition Just Got Tougher

Huawei Technologies, the Chinese handset giant, has been taking steps to push its mobile payment service even further into that country, which means that the field is getting a bit more crowded for Apple Pay — right where the largest smartphone market in the world resides, The Wall Street Journal noted on Tuesday (March 22).

The company will be linking up with China UnionPay, the Chinese state-run bank card processing firm, and the collaboration works to offer a new payments service called Huawei Pay. The news comes on the heels of a mid-2015 pilot program, with the acknowledgement that the testing portion of bringing the technology to market may not square with reality.

The Huawei service itself has grown from a relatively small number of participants, with entrenched competition from Alipay, among others. UnionPay, which WSJ said has a monopoly on bank card companies, at about a 70 percent share, is trailed by Tencent Holdings, which has a 19 percent share of the mobile payments industry. WSJ noted that the Huawei Pay system will rely on fingerprint scanning for security. Total mobile transactions were up more than 60 percent last year in China.

In terms of a 10,000-foot view, Huawei was the biggest player in the Chinese smartphone market, with a 15 percent share at the end of 2015. Apple nipped at those heels, at 14.6 percent. And, in terms of global reach, the firm was the third-biggest smartphone company, behind Apple and Samsung, WSJ noted.

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